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Restored Buick Given as a Tribute to Cancer Patient

August 30, 2012

Buick manufacturing and its rich history has always been respected and admired.  Charlie Sims is no different.  When Sims first laid eyes on the 1936 Buick Model 40, it was love at first sight.  Sims has always dreamed of restoring this cherished automobile to its once pristine condition, but after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, he was not able to personally make that dream come true.


In 2009, Sims was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer known as chordoma.  Chordoma is a slow growing malignant cancer found in the spine and base of the skull. For Charlie Sims, a lifetime of fighting this cancer loomed ahead.  For Charlie’s family, a different task was at hand: restoring his dream car.

Charlie’s wife Barbara took it upon herself and enlisted several volunteers to help restore the 1936 Buick Model 40 for her husband. Using the savings she had put away for retirement and with additional funds from her children, Barbara Sims and her team of volunteers worked furiously to restore his beloved Buick and unveiled the incredible surprise to her husband at the 2nd Annual Street Rod Car Show.

Love at First Sight

Charlie’s love of Buick models did not start with the 1936 Buick Model 40. Instead, it started when Sims personally restored a 1938 Buick. After selling that car at a local Ohio auto show, Sims was exposed to the 1936 Buick Model 40. From there, Sims was on a mission to not only find one of these rare models (since only 1700 were ever manufactured), but it was his life’s goal to actually restore one as well.

Charlie finally located his dream car – only it needed some work. Unfortunately, three years after acquiring the vehicle, he was diagnosed with cancer and given approximately seven years to live.  That’s when Barbara stepped in and although Charlie was aware of the restoration taking place and had seen some of the progress being made, he could never have realized just how fast his wife and her team of volunteers would complete the total restoration.  The restoration was a labor of love from a woman who dearly cherished her husband and a labor of deep respect from a team of volunteers who highly admired Charlie.

Sims has since undergone six rounds of treatment and has survived five years. Doctors are optimistic of his chances for an even longer lifespan, which means more time for Charlie to spend with his beloved family and with his cherished dream car.

Test drive your own Buick today and find a model that will inspire you at your local Palm Springs Buick dealership.

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